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New owner of Las Vegas Strip casino eyes Dubai

Anything can happen on the Las Vegas Strip. That goes for what tourists might do in a place that for years has told people that any sins they commit in Sin City “stay in Vegas,” but that goes for actual properties on the famed expanse of land.

MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get the MGM Resorts International Report, for example, has a casino inspired by the Egyptian pyramids (Luxor) and another based in New York that has its own Statue of Liberty (New York, New York). Entertainment Rival Caesars (CZR) – Get the report from Caesars Entertainment Inc. has a casino with its own Eiffel Tower (Paris), an oversized Ferris wheel (Linq) and a real palace (Caesars Palace).

These properties are joined by the golden splendor of Wynn’s (WYNN) – Get Wynn Resorts, Limited Report signature property, as well as uniquely themed properties like MGM’s Excalibur (knights), The Venetian (Venice), and Caesars Flamingo (lots of flamingos).

These will soon be joined by a guitar-shaped hotel owned by Hard Rock International and another new casino on the North Las Vegas Strip whose owners intend to look to Dubai for inspiration.

Can a local player compete with Caesars, MGM and Wynn?

Las Vegas real estate investor Steve Siegel knows Las Vegas. His company, The Siegel Group, operates a number of short-term rental properties that rent by the week (no credit check required). It also owns a number of shopping malls and has a past history of operating hotels.

Siegel, who just purchased what he called the “last big” vacant lot on the Las Vegas Strip, now owns “more than 12 acres of contiguous property along Las Vegas Boulevard and Convention Center Drive, according to the Clark County archives, and says he is considering a project that could include a hotel-casino, condo units and retail, “the Las Vegas Journal Review reported.

It’s a large tract of land that could accommodate another casino/hotel on the scale of those operated by Caesars, MGM, Wynn and other operators on the Las Vegas Strip. Siegel was vague about his company’s plans — and it’s unclear whether the Siegel Group has the funding or the wherewithal to undertake a project of this scale — but he shared an important piece of information with the newspaper.

“We are planning a trip to Dubai to get some ideas,” Siegel told Eli Segall of the Review-Journal.

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Why turn to Dubai?

Dubai doesn’t offer casinos, at least at the moment, but Wynn has been working on a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that would lead to the construction of a huge complex, which would include “gaming”, although it is unclear what that means in an Islamic nation where traditional gambling remains illegal.

Caesars also has a property in Dubai, but this particular Caesars Palace does not currently offer gambling.

Dubai, however, is known as a Western-friendly city full of Las Vegas-like architecture, massive malls, and glitzy (albeit gambling-free) hotels. The Wynn property will be located on Al Marjan Island, 15 minutes from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport.

“Al Marjan Island is a pristine setting and pristine location ideal for creating the unique guest experiences that Wynn Resorts is known for,” Wynn CEO Craig Billings said in a press release.

Siegel hasn’t set a timeline for the start of work on his new Las Vegas Strip casino and nothing seems imminent.

The North Strip last year saw the opening of the $4.3 billion Resorts World casino and the billion-dollar Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall. The long-delayed Fontainebleau Las Vegas plans to complete its 20-year construction odyssey by the end of 2023.